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China calls for dialogue in Burkina Faso crisis

AFP , Tuesday 4 Nov 2014
Burkina Faso
Protestors steal a police motorbike outside the parliament building in Burkina Faso as they protest against their longtime president Blaise Compaore in the city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Oct. 30, 2014 (Photo: AP)

China called on Tuesday for "dialogue and consultation" in Burkina Faso after a military takeover following the ousting of the longtime leader of one of the few countries that recognises Taipei rather than Beijing.

Blaise Compaore, the Burkinabe president of 27 years and a regular visitor to Taipei, was forced to resign by mass protests. The army stepped into the power vacuum, prompting angry protests and threats of sanctions.

"We hope that relevant parties in Burkina Faso can bear in mind the interests of the state and its people, and resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation," Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said at a regular briefing.

"We have no diplomatic ties with Burkina Faso," she acknowledged, but added that Beijing wanted to maintain "good momentum" in relations across the Taiwan Strait.

China's African interests and influence have soared in recent decades as it seeks resources to power its economy, now the world's second-largest. Burkina Faso stands out as one of only three countries on the continent -- along with Swaziland and Sao Tome and Principe -- to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan instead.

The diplomatic tug-of-war between the two continued for decades after the Nationalists fled to Taiwan following the Communist victory in China's civil war, but now only 22 countries recognise Taipei.

Taiwan said Monday it was keeping a close eye on developments in west Africa, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao saying: "Our ties with Burkina Faso remain unaffected."

Compaore was a staunch supporter of Taiwan, making his 10th visit to the island only last month and refusing to attend regional African summits led by Chinese officials.

Compaore has not sought refuge in Taiwan, Taipei's foreign ministry told AFP Tuesday.

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